By Lori Perkins
As I get older, I look at the people – especially the women – who were influential in my life with a completely new perspective.
If you had told 14 year-old me, who played Tapestry (Carole King’s second album which was certified 13 times Platinum, one of the best-selling albums of all time with over 25 million copies worldwide and won four Grammy Awards in 1972) on her stereo every day after school, that this woman would be someone she referenced almost every day after 40, I would have told you you were crazy. At 14, Carole King was just another great female singer/songwriter to me like Carly Simon and Linda Ronstadt.
But then I got older and got a divorce, and Tapestry, especially the song “It’s Too Late,” became the soundtrack to the year I left my husband. I also learned that she wrote it about the year she left her husband, and found a depth in her work, and in that entire album, that I just couldn’t see or hear as a teenager.
I also realized the contribution she made as a women in what was a male-dominated music scene—how even though I wasn’t musically inclined (my choir director told me I was tone deaf), she showed me that a woman could create a body of work outside of art and literature (which were my emotional go-to-places) that could transcend time and place and gender.
A few months ago, Carole King was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and Taylor Swift, who I feel is in the same league as King (maybe the next level even—she’s still young, so I reserve final judgment) gave us all a tribute performance of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.” I am so glad King was there to see it (she wiped away tears). I am so glad I was here to hear it. And I hope it’s never too late for the next generation to hear and love her music.